Painkillers aggravating headache
Hürriyet photoA million headache sufferers, who take common painkillers on a regular basis, are actually intensifying their pain by making their brains immune to the drugs’ effects, doctors warn, British daily Telegraph has reported. They are aggravating their symptoms by relying on medications like aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen on an almost daily basis. Five in six of them are women.
Instead of taking these over-the-counter drugs to combat symptoms when they flare up, sufferers should try treatments that help prevent headaches in the first place, including acupuncture, according to official advice from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).
Almost everyone experiences occasional headaches but almost 10 million people, a fifth of the adult population, suffer from much more serious and debilitating types.
Of those, some seven million suffer from migraines, and another 1.5 million or so develop intense tension type headaches on most days.
Dr Manjit Matharu, a consultant neurologist, said: “Patients with frequent tension-type headaches or migraines can get themselves into a vicious cycle, where their headaches are getting increasingly worse.”
Taking normal dose aspirin, paracetamol or anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen for 15 days or more a month could lead to these headaches, he said.
People could still develop medication overuse headaches even if they took less than the maximum daily dose, he emphasised, although taking low-dose aspirin (75mg) daily to protect against heart disease and cancer would not trigger them.
Taking opioids like codeine, or other powerful painkillers like triptans, ergots or combination analgesic medications for 10 days or more a month could also exacerbate headaches or migraines, he said.